Archive for September 2007




Hong Kong

Did I tell you that Marshall lives on the 52nd floor? It’s high up. Actually it’s not really the 52nd floor since apartment buildings don’t have floors with the number 4 so we’re missing 24,34,44 etc. Either way, we’re still high up. On mornings when it is hazy out or the rain is coming down, you look out the window and feels as though you’re in a cloud. You can’t see anything except white. It’s kind of cool.

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Yesterday morning though we went biking. Oh, I bought a bike. I spent a good deal of money on a great new ……..well, it’s black, bike. We went on a 4 hour bike trip up to Lion Rock County Park. The road up there was awful – steep and long but we soon hit some nice flat terrain and I even had to navigate some rocks, stairs and creeks. The other hard part about that mountain is the monkeys. They are everywhere. You’re not supposed to feed them but everyone does so they are not afraid of humans and in fact come up to you hoping for food. It was a really fun trip.

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1 comment September 27, 2007

The final week

And last but not least, Florida.

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Add comment September 27, 2007

on to Thailand….

and the picture walk continues….

Our motley crew getting started.051_51.JPGthecat.jpgand the Cat!

Looking good…..geeky.jpgmarshallandme.jpg

Some of the beautiful views through northern Thailand.

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The windscreen kept breaking so we had to drive up close to the steering wheel and manually move the wiper. This got really exciting when we were trying to navigate steep hills and hairpin turns at the same time!

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The temple I told you about that was bright white.062_62.JPG064_64.JPG

Plenty of relaxing time – hammocks, waterfalls.052_52.JPG093_93.JPGcards.jpg

Of course the whole point of this part of the trip was getting to the Golden Triangle. Here finally is the proof that we made it.

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and the Mekhong river. (that’s Laos on the other side)mekhong.jpg

Our next part of the trip – climbing in Railay and wedding in Koh Samui.

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Add comment September 27, 2007

The first of many…

I found some photos. So, here in roughly chronological order are some highlights from my vacation.

Starting with bonnie Scotland and bouldering down in Portlethen.bouldering1.jpgbouldering2.jpg 

Then, Kat decided I needed a night on the town and helped me get dressed so that I would ‘blend in’ with her crowd a little more……

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Let’s see. Off to Italy next where we were greeted with this view every morning. If you ever need a ‘happy place’ this is a good one!

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The views are absolutely amazing and the pool……ah…..we had the whole thing to ourselves. It was the epitome of relaxing.

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Highlights included finding real grapes on real vines!!!!realgrapes.jpg

And getting wine lessons from the vineyard operater at the villa.mums-camera-small-disk-012.jpg

Thanks to his great wine at the villa we did a fine job of using up their stock.

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Most of our outings there had to do with wine too and we found a favorite little Osteria in Montalcino.

kat-since-italy-078.jpgmums-italy-photos-142.jpg and a few nice dinners out.mums-italy-photos-166.jpg

Add comment September 27, 2007

back again…

so, 5 days later and I’m back in Hong Kong. It’s Chusok in Korea so that’s a week off for me! And I know you’re anxious to hear what fabulous gift we got from our Headmaster this year (remember the sweet potatoes last year?). This year I got 7.5lbs of pears. At least it’s something that doesn’t require cooking.

Anyway, I’m back in Hong Kong with a purpose. I am planning on moving here next year so this week I am looking at schools. I have interviews at 3 different ones this week, 2 of which are owned by the same company that owns Marshall’s school. This would be a great thing so that we could have the same calendar and contract next year. So please keep your fingers crossed!

Add comment September 24, 2007

A little Britain

Okay, I know I’m supposed to be putting in all my great photos from this summer but I had to add a little note first about where I am now. I am in Hong Kong visiting Marshall for the weekend……I mean, I’m on a school workshop about literacy for young students. At least that’s how I got the school to pay for it!!! Anyway, I was already planning on moving here next year without even having seen the city. Now, I am definitely coming. I haven’t seen a whole lot but what I have seen has made me giddy like a kid. On the plane here everything was sponsored by Bank of Scotland!!! I was so excited. Then, there are branches of all the major British stores and banks. I was walking down Gloucester road yesterday and was headed out towards Aberdeen. It’s all so cool. Most people speak English too so getting around is easy. The view from the apartment is amazing and I am loving everything about being here. Can’t wait till next year!

Add comment September 15, 2007

Newbies

I have to say it was really fun coming back this year. I wasn’t a newbie! Instead I got to watch all the new people coming, being unsure and nervous. It was great!

We had 21 new people arrive – mainly couples so a very different group from last year. It was rather hard to get to know them at the beginning. Firstly because the rain kept everyone inside and secondly, you know couples – all that nesting and staying home together at night. It took a while to draw them out to our parties but eventually we did it. The baseball game helped. They are all very nice and a huge range of ages, backgrounds and countries.  The new first grade teacher with us is probably mid fifties and from Maine. She spent the last five years growing organic veg and selling them roadside. But she said that she realised she was a teacher when, every time someone bought her produce, she started telling them all about that particular vegetable group! She’s really nice and is fitting in really well with our team. Another cool couple are Mitch and Elissa. She’s American and he’s Australian. They’re both really sporty so I see them in soccer, climbing, swimming. It’s a lot of fun.

It’s also nice being a little bit of an expert on Korea. I can actually answer questions that they have. I can tell them good places to go and I realize how much I know about our neighborhood. I’m also reminded of all the things that I like here which is a very good thing this week as I’ve been struggling with Korea a little (I can’t stand their commercials with all the cute-sy girls and loud noises). The new teachers have been really complimentary of our school and talking about the things they notice. It’s good to hear that about your school and take a second to appreciate what you have.

I’m really enjoying my new group of students too. We have some real cuties. And quite a few with very little English so I’m kept busy. I’ve been extremely organized since we started school- it’s a little scary but I’m feeling great about my lessons, my teaching team and my students. Life’s good!

And even better? In two weeks I get to go to Hong Kong for a workshop and see Marshall!

Add comment September 1, 2007

It’s Lobster dahling!

I know you’ve been reading my previous entries and thinking “wow, what an action packed holiday”. It’s not true. Yes, there was biking and climbing and snorkelling but there was also plenty of hammock time, beach time, sleeping in. If I were to show you photos of my summer, most of the Thailand time would show beautiful views, sunsets, mountains and us relaxing. The Florida photos on the other hand are all action! I know fishing may not top your list of active sports but believe me, these kind of fish were tough.

The whole reason we headed to Florida was for lobster fishing. We were staying with Marshall’s aunt on Big Pine Key. It’s pretty far down – about a 3 hour drive from Miami. And the reason we didn’t stay in Ko Samui for our friends’ wedding is that we needed to be in Florida ready to go for the ‘sportsmans days’ where you can catch up to 6 lobster per person each day. Pretty good deal eh?

After about 30 odd hours of traveling, we made it! Marshall had given me some essential fishing tips on the way down and we even stopped in a store that had a huge tank of fish so that I could play ‘name that fish’. Let’s see ……I remember tarpon, jack, bonefish, dolphin (the fish kind, not the mammal kind), marlin, sergeant major, and parrot fish. The island that Marshall’s aunt lived on was really cool. It was small but it was also a refuge area for Key Deer. These are tiny deer that live all over the place. A fully grown buck is still smaller than my head height. At Marshall’s aunt’s house, the deer were always coming up to the carport. Most mornings you would look outside and see a doe and little spotted fawn.  The fawn was about the same size as a dog. They were so cute!

On our first trip out for lobster, we rented a boat and the four of us (Marshall, me, his aunt and his aunt’s friend) headed for some shallow-ish water near the SeaCamp where his aunt works. Marshall handed me a net, some gloves and a long pink stick called a ‘tickle stick’. Maybe you know what to do with all this, but I didn’t have a clue. And so began my first lesson. Once I had the basics of ‘put the stick in the crevice and tap the lobster out, then catch him with the net’ I decided I was ready. The part I had to figure out in the water was how to dive down and hold my breath while all this was going on. I kept floating back up! The other difficult part is that these lobster shoot backwards once they’re out of their hole and this makes throwing a net over them pretty hard too. The only bit that was obvious was the gloves – the lobster all have sharp spiny things.

I think Marshall was about ready to give up on me so to head off any frustration, I returned to the boat to watch the more experienced catchers. I have some great video footage of Marshall catching a lobster, having it flip itself out of the net, and his aunt getting pretty worked up about it. If you keep watching the video (which hopefully will all be made into a nice home movie soon), you’ll see Marshall catch another one right after and explain that the reason he’s keeping the net out of the water is the big barracuda hanging around hoping to snatch the meal right out of his hand. Yep, there were barracuda all over the place. Huge ones! The worst part is that they don’t really swim, they just lay there. You’re swimming along thinking everything’s dandy when you suddenly look up and there’s a big jaw and teeth right about eye level. I had some serious discussions with myself when they started floating under the boat beside the ladder. Hhhmmm, stay in the water with the barracuda or go closer to it, take my eyes off it but get out of the water.

Our first day lobstering we caught about 6 lobster and had them nicely grilled with key lime juice for dinner. I was thinking life was pretty sweet and then…….

We headed out the next day. Amy (Marshall’s aunt’s friend) and Marshall kept talking about some great spot they knew of. It was really shallow but with this big hollow structure that the lobster liked to hide in. As we caught them we put them in the bag we were carrying. This was going swimmingly (ha, ha, ha) until we looked at the bag and realized that about 5 had escaped through the hole! Luckily, there were tons of lobster in this structure. We tickled most of the small ones out and went after the big ones. One of them was so big it took Marshall to tickle it out, me to trap it with the net and Amy to help pick it up. At one point Amy even tickled out a nurse shark! We were so busy catching these lobster that we didn’t pay attention to how many we had until it was time to try and haul them back to the car. Once there, we counted 23! While it was tempting to call up Marshall’s aunt and tell her to come find us so that we could keep all 23, we knew we didn’t need that many. So I released 5 back into the ocean. Lucky buggers!

There is also some pretty funny video footage of me trying to clean the lobster. It involves grabbing the still flipping lobster and twisting the tail off. The large one we caught was so big I had to have help. The funny part though is the squealing sound I make everytime the lobster flips.

Now that we had enough lobster to feed us for a good long while, we decided we needed some fish. Marshall took me to catch bonefish which is surprisingly hard. We also went after some dolphin (again, it’s the fish not the mammal – most people know of it as mahi mahi).  These fish can jump! They fight and flip out of the water. It is a real arm workout trying to reel one in. Twice I had one on my line and then lost it after Marshall’s fish decided to swim in the same area and twisted our lines ultimately breaking mine. Even though I never actually got my fish in the boat, it was definitely the bigger fish! Really, it was ——t—-h——i——-s————big.

As if this wasn’t enough wildlife for me, we went snorkelling on this great reef. There were huge parrotfish loudly munching on the coral that just reminded me of a big knitting group sitting and chatting away.  At one point Marshall tapped my arm and showed me this huge tarpon fish swimming by. It was enormous! About 2 seconds later he tapped me again and pointed a few feet away where there was a huge reef shark!!!!!! I got to swim with a shark!!!!!!! I was so glad that Marshall was with me because apparently my eyes went wide and I instinctively started to curl up in a ball. The shark was obviously following the tarpon but even once it had moved on, I kept looking behind me every few seconds just in case.

The whole trip to Florida was just fantastic but I was also a little sad because right after that, I would be going back to Seoul and Marshall would be heading off to Hong Kong. So, one night we drove down to Key West and spent the night there. It was fun and totally bizarre. We went to Mallory Square and watched all sorts of street performers. These key people are a different breed! But, I can now say I have been to the southernmost tip of the United States.

And so, with that my vacation was over. I had an amazing vacation and got to do so many things and see so many things. I can’t wait to get some photos to put on here!!!

Add comment September 1, 2007

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